Your teeth are composed of different layers that work together to protect the inner structure. The outermost layer is the enamel, which can become damaged over time due to wear and tear, decay, or medical condition. When this happens, the pulp inside the tooth can become irritated, leading to a severe toothache.
A severe toothache can cause throbbing or stabbing pain that can be very uncomfortable. It may also be accompanied by swelling, redness, and tenderness in the area surrounding the toothache. Sometimes, you may also experience fever, headaches, and jaw pain. It is essential to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms. If left untreated, the pain can worsen and lead to infection.
Common Causes of a Severe Toothache
Several factors can lead to severe toothache, including:
#1. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of intense tooth pain. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth produce acids that dissolve the enamel, resulting in cavities and other damage to the tooth. This damage can cause pain and discomfort and can lead to infection if left untreated. Other signs of tooth decay include discoloration of the teeth, bad breath, and sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
Your dentist can diagnose tooth decay through a visual examination and digital dental x-rays. Treatment typically includes filling the cavity or performing root canal therapy. In some cases, tooth extractions may be necessary.
#2. Gum Disease
Gum disease (periodontal disease) occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and gums, causing inflammation and irritation. Symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen gums that bleed easily, bad breath, and loosening of the teeth. Left untreated, gum can damage the supporting tissues of the teeth and lead to infection and pain.
Treatment for gum disease may include a deep cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, antibiotics to control infection, and surgery to repair damaged gum tissue.
#3. Broken or Cracked Tooth
The pulp inside the tooth can become exposed if a tooth is cracked or broken. Your pulp contains nerve endings and blood vessels that can irritate and cause pain when exposed. It is essential to seek medical attention if you have a broken or cracked tooth, as it can lead to more serious issues like dental infection.
Depending on the severity of the crack or chip, your dentist may recommend filling the tooth, putting on a crown, or performing a root canal.
#4. Abscessed Tooth
A dental abscess is a collection of pus that forms in the gums or around a damaged tooth. It is caused by a bacterial infection, which can be extremely painful and spread quickly if left untreated. Symptoms of an abscessed tooth include severe pain, swelling, fever, and drainage from the affected area. If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious complications.
Treatment for an abscessed tooth usually involves draining the abscess and taking antibiotics to clear up the infection. In some cases, the infected tooth may need to be extracted to prevent further infection.
#5. Damaged Filling
Fillings are used to fill cavities and repair damaged teeth. Over time, these fillings can become worn down or cracked, resulting in a severe toothache. Signs of a damaged tooth filling include sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures and pain when biting down on the affected area.
It is essential to seek medical attention if you think your filling is damaged, as the tooth can become further damaged and infected if left untreated. Treatment for a damaged filling typically involves replacing the old filling with a new one. Your dentist may also recommend a crown or other form of tooth restoration to protect the weakened tooth.
#6. Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition in which a person grinds their teeth unconsciously while sleeping or during times of stress. This can lead to severe toothache and damage to the teeth and gums. Symptoms of teeth grinding include jaw soreness, headaches, and earaches.
Wearing a custom-made night guard while sleeping can help to protect the teeth from grinding, and stress management techniques such as meditation and counseling can help reduce stress levels and reduce the urge to grind.
#7. Wisdom Teeth Impactions
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause severe pain and discomfort due to their inability to erupt properly. Symptoms include swelling, soreness, and difficulty opening the mouth. Treatment typically involves extracting the impacted tooth or surgically removing it if necessary.
Other possible causes of a severe toothache include sinus infection, cavities, infection, and trauma. It is important to seek emergency treatment as soon as possible if you are experiencing a severe toothache, as it may be a sign of a more serious condition.
Home Treatment for a Severe Toothache
You can try some home remedies to manage the pain while waiting for a dental appointment:
- Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater. Salt contains natural antiseptic properties and can help reduce inflammation in the gums. Stir 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water and use the solution to rinse your mouth.
- Take pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and swelling. Be sure to follow the label instructions and talk to your doctor before taking any medication if you have a medical condition.
- Apply a cold compress. Applying a cold compress or an ice pack to the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling. Wrap the cold compress in a thin cloth and apply for 15 minutes at a time, several times daily.
Schedule an Emergency Appointment Today!
If your tooth pain is accompanied by other signs and symptoms such as fever, swelling, or difficulty opening the jaw, contact our office to schedule an emergency dentist appointment! Our emergency dentist will conduct a thorough oral exam and obtain medical history to accurately diagnose the cause of your tooth pain and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan. We offer a wide range of treatments, including root canals, extractions, and fillings, to help relieve your pain and restore your oral health.